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Abraham Lincoln: A Moral Unifier? Essay

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Abraham Lincoln is a mythical figure in American culture and history because he is the President who saved the Union and abolished slavery. American admiration for him is so great that Americans have carved him into mountains and immortalized him in a Greek temple. In the Lincoln Memorial, one can find the inscriptions of the “Gettysburg Address” and “Second Inaugural Address”. To some, these speeches signify America’s rebirth as a unified political and moral country. Interestingly, these two speeches overshadow the fact that Lincoln’s words were once divisive. In “House Divided”, Lincoln expands the North-South divisions by taking issue with “Popular Sovereignty”, an 1854 policy allowing residents of territories to decide whether to legalize slavery. According to Lincoln, “Popular Sovereignty” was only creating more divisions when the Union needed to reunify under a banner of either slavery or abolition. Furthermore, Lincoln argues that there was a conspiracy to propagate slavery throughout the Union. Lincoln illustrates how several Democrats such as Stephen Douglas, President Franklin Pierce, Chief Justice Roger Taney, and President James Buchanan have enacted policies that were individually unimposing, but collectively spread slavery throughout the Union. Lincoln believed that slavery would become lawful throughout the Union if “the present political dynasty”, a proslavery construct, was not “met and overthrown” by Republicans (Lincoln 405). While I do not think that Lincoln is calling for an armed overthrow, I believe that his speech embodies the Northern distrust of the South. In fact, Lincoln is so polemical that as soon as he is elected the South secedes. However, Lincoln pivots to become a consistent politic...


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...l the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

I believe that Lincoln always knew that slavery was incompatible with the Union. After emancipating the slaves Lincoln had to begin reunifying a new, slave-less Union, his ideal. He wants Americans to recognize a God who is antislavery and whose punishing for slavery’s progression is just. To some it may seem very divisive when he says “...every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword” (Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address 462). It may serve to further Lincoln’s belief that the Civil War is just deserts.




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